McDonald’s has released a commercial in France featuring a (le gasp) gay person!

Oh wow, this is about to get so complicated! These guys know what I’m talking about. Because on the one hand, great, I guess. Right? I mean, in the on-going struggle to provide equal rights to homosexuals (in 2010, for heaven’s sake) there’s certainly no real harm in presenting them as human beings who participate in the same activities as non-gay human beings, for example stuffing their bodies with GARBAGE. And the ad itself is pretty charming! It has soft, moody music, the kid seems like a real kid, the dad seems like a dad, and we’ve all been to McDonald’s, so it works, you know! But then you kind of think about it for a couple of seconds, and the whole thing falls apart.

For one thing, “Come As You Are”? That is less a motto and more a basic fact of human existence that should go without saying (not to mention the fact that the kid in the ad hasn’t come out to his father, so I guess in that sense we’re supposed to take this to mean that McDonald’s knows you better and is more understanding of you than your own family, in which case, yuck). This is the weird trend these days of self-congratulations for not being a fucking asshole. Like, NO SPOILERS, McDonald’s, but gay people have been eating your nightmare food FOR YEARS without a dedicated advertising campaign. I’m sure they appreciate the permission and everything, but relax. You don’t need to get a medal for publicly declaring that you’re not engaging in INSTITUTIONAL BIGOTRY. I’m just saying that it is a sad state of affairs that we all (myself included) feel uplifted by the simple fact that someone (or some corporation) DOESN’T perpetrate a hate crime.

But even more basically, let us not forget that this is an advertising campaign for a multi-billion dollar corporation in the business of selling poison. Like, before we get too excited about the bold steps being taken for EQUALITY and FREEDOM, let’s also remember that this is actually an emotionally manipulative attempt to sell dangerous quantities of fat, salt, and sugar. And that it was probably argued about AT EXHAUSTIVE LENGTH in some closed boardroom somewhere before the final determination was made that this particular nod towards human equality would sell more fat, salt, and sugar than it would lose customers for the fat, salt, and sugar. I’m just saying let’s remember that at its root what this is, basically, is a demonstration that homosexuals are now a viable target for the malicious efforts of bottom-line-assessing advertising executives. Congratulations? To all of us? I’m sure?

Like I said, it is complicated. Really. Because there is something that is probably “good” about this commercial, or at the very least, I’m sure it represents some kind of “important step.” I just think we should all take a second before we pat McDonald’s too hard on the back for basically saying “closeted young gay people in France can also pay us to consume dangerously awful food.” (Thanks for the tip, Andy.)

Comments (128)
  1. This is a good strategy for McDonalds. Everyone knows that they’ve been losing ground in the lucrative homosexual demographic to Wendy’s ever since they started allowing you to bedazzle your frosty.

    • Oh my god. Frosties. In all my bragging about never eating fast food and my not being sick because I ate fast food,I forgot how much I loved frosties.

  2. You think THAT’S bad!? You should have seen the earlier version of this ad with Grimace and the Hamburglar arguing about who loved the new Sex and the City movie MORE.

  3. Come to McDonald’s, where an awkard moment between a father trying to connect with his sexually confused son is just another every day occurance…BAH-DAH BAH BUH-BAH! I’m Lovin’ It!

    • OH No! explainer guy: ‘Sexually confused’ is kind of offensive! you should have just left it out all together:

      Come to McDonald’s, where an awkard moment between a father trying to connect with his son is just another every day occurance…BAH-DAH BAH BUH-BAH! I’m Lovin’ It!

  4. Just another reason for the French to hate us. Our lack of gay friendly McDonald’s commercials.

  5. Who doesn’t love McDonald’s? I mean I’m all about organics and eating well but sometimes you just need a McFlurry

    • I’d like to introduce you to the ‘McGangbang’, the best/worst thing $2 can buy:
      http://www.eatmedaily.com/2009/03/the-mcgangbang-a-mcchicken-sandwich-inside-a-double-cheeseburger/

    • I had a craving for saturated fat a few months ago, there’s a macdonald’s nearby so I thought what the hell and bought a cheeseburger. I nearly puked. It tasted like that peppery re-heated foul meat taste that you get from previously frozen beef that is sub par and kind of chemical-y. Do you know what I mean? I couldnt finish it even though I was starving. I want to puke just thinking about it. I’m all for junk food that is bad for you but come on, it should at least taste okay. It did not taste okay. It tasted like puke.

      • My mom was a hippie and as a child we were never allowed to have McDonalds, so of course we wanted nothing more. I remember finally getting a McDonalds hamburger while on an outing with another family and I was like holy fuck, this is the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. I choked it down on principle but it was one of many “maybe mom was right” moments. Do they still have those wormy little chopped onions all over them? Onions! The scourge of my existence.

        McDonalds fries, though, are the shit.

        • I was having trouble relating until you got to the fries. Looks like fries are the universal language. High fryve!

  6. I bet some McDonalds ad exec heard the expression “Gay Paris” and thought they didn’t have any other choice.

  7. If the fact that a McDonald’s commercial can be one of the more poignant and socially provocative things to come across society today isn’t a sign that the world is coming to an end very, VERY soon… I just don’t know what is.

  8. Meh. It’s June. At the end of this month cities around the country will unite in proud affirmation of the fact that corporations can sell shit to gay people too. Oh but hey, look they do it on TV now!

    Progress.

  9. I’m just suprised this wasn’t an ad for their salad option. You know, ’cause gays be skinny.

  10. my friend francois (a real french person!) is obsessed with mcdonalds and so are all of his friends back in france. they flip out over mcdonalds. also, due to food legislation and french culture, mcdonalds food in france is slightly less made out of apple cores and chinese newspaper and slightly more made out of nutrition.

  11. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  12. Well, it’s pretty obvious that it was dad’s turn to decide where to have lunch, so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about.

  13. “Fake and gay” –surprisingly accurate YouTube commenter

  14. I wonder if now that McDonald’s slogan is “Come As You Are”, for a limited time, their Happy Meals will come packaged in a Heart-Shaped Box.

  15. An ad promoting tolerance AND a multibillion-dollar corporation that sells garbage primarily to people who can’t afford to eat food that won’t kill them IS STILL an ad promoting tolerance.

    “I’ll allow it.”
    - Judge Commercials

  16. on sunday, i went to see the goldberg variations (LOOK AT ME, I’M CULTURED) and decided to get a sandwich from mcdonalds to tide me over for the two hours i’d be listening to beauty. that sandwich ruined my shorts and made me looks silly at my cultured event. and the sandwich wasn’t even that good.
    so, in conclusion, fuck mcdonalds for ruining my shorts and making me look silly.

    also, of course the french mcdonalds ad campaign would feature a gay person. i feel like that may reinforce foreign stereotypes of france. maybe?

    i’m just saying words. i’ll stop.

  17. I would not have known this was a McDonald’s ad if they didn’t have the M at the end.

  18. To be fair, this commercial was largely made to contrast French Burger King’s new campaign, “NO HOMO.”

  19. Okay, so are they saying that McDonald’s is the perfect arena to have such a terribly uncomfortable conversation with your parent OR that such a terribly uncomfortable conversation with your parent would in some way make you hungry for death-food? Because as much as I can identify with how awkward such an exchange can be when you’re sitting in a McDonald’s (what) with an unaware parent commenting on your sexuality, THIS DOES NOT MAKE ME HUNGRY IN ANY WAY. Especially hungry for, you know…death food.

  20. Lest we forget, this is also the company that gave us the “I’d Hit It” cheeseburger campaign a few years back. So, targeting gay French teens? Not quite as bad as going after the burgerphiliacs.

  21. Come to McDonalds, children. We will not judge you like your father. Let us be your new father. You can be as gay as you want, as long as you let us shovel crap in your mouth.

  22. I’m not quite getting the love and tolerance appeal of this ad. The dad is apparently clueless to his son’s sexuality, and the son seems (a bit smugly) happy that his dad hasn’t figured it out. Nothing leads me to think a conversation addressing this is about to happen, just the shovelling of garbage food into their digestive systems.
    But more importantly, the McDonald’s golden-arches logo is on a green background rather than red one in France! QTF?

    • yeah, that was what got me about it.

      “Oh dad, you’re so old and out of it! lol! It’s gonna be SO FUNNY when you wake up and realize that all the fantasies you have about me looking up to you cause you got a lot of pussy when you were young, and all the vicariously living through me that you are counting on doing is not going to really be happening long! Cause the joke, which is that I’m gay, is on you, cause you’re intolerant. And a dimwit!” -nobody ever

    • They did it to play a joke on people with protanopia.

    • For me, it was just a combination of the nice music and the real tenderness with which the kid spoke to his boyfriend [presumably]. It made me feel smiley and warm and fuzzy. But it did not make me want to buy a McSandwich of any sort.

      Then again I am not a French gay boy and I would much rather eat a corrugated cardboard box than McDonald’s. Mmmmm fiber!

  23. I ate at McDonald’s on Sunday in a sad train station in an even sadder city and I can safely say that this ad campaign captures the true spirit of the McDonald’s experience.

    The floors were disgusting; not only un-mopped but appearing to have been covered in a quarter inch of soda, sweat, and vomit that had dried with bits of hair and fries to create patterns on the tile. The employees did not give a FUCK. Not only were the cashiers rude but I saw a dude in the back overfill a basket with Mcnuggets so much that about half fell on the floor as he stuck it in the oven-slot and a good portion more just got smashed to the point that the basket only made it 2/3 of the way in. Also, the guy in line after me ordered a Quarter Pounder (side note, he walked up to the counter and said: “I would like one Quarter Pounder with cheese please.” This was amusing.) and when his card wouldn’t go thorough b/c the reader was broken the cashier told him he’d have to pay in cash. The man, who was prob in his 70s, only had a small amount of change on him and had to order a plain hamburger. In order to make the full amount, he had to grab change out of the Ronald McDonald House charity bin that literally had both coins and bills piled on top b/c God knows when it was last emptied. There were 4 other registers in complete operational order.

    The other miserable component were the patrons. In addition to that old man who probably served our country in some sort of foreign war and is now forced to lower his meal expectations b/c some lazy cashier can’t move 3 feet to the left and do the transaction again, everyone else looked like they’d just stepped out of a group therapy session. Everyone there was alone except for my friends and I. They all sat hanging their heads and eating in silence. I’m pretty sure everyone knew exactly what they were doing in that McDonalds and it was simply edging a little closer to the eternal abyss (not the one in Guatemala). A good portion of these loners were broke ass hipsters and college kids which I later saw waiting for one of the discount buses outside the station (full disclosure: I was waiting for the bus too. The bus is great).

    Anyway, McDonalds is a fucking hellhole. There is no joy in that place. It is the deepest depth of human despair and I would consider it to be the anus of the American dream. So, come as you are! Whether you are just popping in for an apple pie on your way to the nearest bridge, you can’t afford proper nutrition, or you are a closeted gay man who is struggling to come out to your family you are welcome at McDonald’s b/c it as close to experiencing damnation you can get while still being firmly planted in the reality of this miserable life.

  24. So, the son misses his boyfriend, and still hasn’t told his Dad that he’s gay?
    The slogan could have been, more accurately: Eat your feelings away.

  25. Vincent: You know what they put on French fries in Paris instead of ketchup?
    Jules: What?
    Vincent: Gayonnaise.
    Jules: I’m not sure that joke was worth typing. It is barely even a joke.

  26. Yes. McDonald’s is a multi-billion dollar corporation that has earned its money through pedaling an extremely unhealthy product and, yes, they are now using a calculated message of tolerance to make even more money. But if it wasn’t an ad about a gay teenager, it would be an ad about something else. I would much rather have this on TV than another commercial featuring a bunch of bros congratulating themselves over their burger choices. Maybe, as trivial as it may be, this ad made some poor kid feel a little less alienated.

  27. “…and one order of Us Fries, please.” -The Dad, moments earlier

  28. This takes me back… I came out to my parents at Pizza Hut.

  29. If the gays can eat at mcdonalds then also can dogs?
    can a horse marry a baby?

    also, come as you are? dont they know that is a song?
    and dont they know its also the slogan of Aberdeen, Washington, home of Kurt Cobain?
    Aberdeen should sue McDonalds for their being dumb

    also, when i stayed in france, my host brother was gay and his dad was a total ladies man, so they should probably sue also

    look at me, all talking shit to a faceless multinational corporation’s self-congratulatory european ad campaign.
    its called courage

  30. aaand i’m totally leaving my bed for the first time today to get mcdonald’s.

  31. one of my pet peeves is when people act like they are better than mcdonalds. first of all, shut up. the best part of being a kid was getting to go to mcdonalds after a little league game. it is delicious. it was fun (ball pit, whaaa?!) and everybody loved it. even in high school, we’d meet up in the mcdonalds parking lot, and they would get mad and chase us out, and it was awesome, and often times i would grab a quick big mac meal no pickles mmm.

    and then i went to college and there wasn’t a mcdonalds around, that sucked.

    and THEN i graduated and that movie about fast food being bad for you if you eat it every meal for a month (shut up, i hate you, that’s the worst idea for a movie ever) and suddenly everyone is hating on fast food and mcdonalds especially acting like it tastes gross well you know what IT DOESN’T TASTE GROSS and people who pretend it does are lying to their taste buds. it is genetically engineered (largest consumer of beef on the planet!) to be awesome.

    here are some menu items that are awesome at mcdonalds:

    1. big mac no pickles
    2. double cheeseburger no pickles (now they call it the mcdouble (no pickles))
    3. mcchicken
    4. mcchicken with bbq sauce oh man it is so good
    5. flatbread chicken sandwhich (this was out for a month when i was in high school and we went and got one every day, not exaggerating, really) at lunch
    6. chicken mcnuggets although i don’t really order these anymore
    7. fries duh
    8 sundae vanilla with hot fudge no nuts
    9. apple pies (better before they changed the menu to healthy style
    10. THE COFFEE who would have thought. also the parfaits, brownies, sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies, and all the available sauces.

    note, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 are less than a dollar amazing

    reference: i am a skinny dude who is relatively healthy. that has nothing to do with anything, but since you can’t physically see me speaking these words, i wanted you to have a reference idea in your head of where this is coming from

    oh man it must be midnight on a tuesday i am feeling weird about writing all of that

    • McDonald’s is bad for the planet. Not just your colon, dude. Also, eating that shit kills your taste buds, so that the only thing that tastes good is McFecalburgers. Sorry. Had to do it.

      • right: mcdonalds IS bad for the planet, because they are an uncaring huge corporation and i’m sure their practices are really shady – AND i bet there’s a bunch of fucking gross shit in the food. i agree with you completely on this one

        wrong: mcdonalds does not ruin your taste buds. i like lots of good foods, and yeah, i probably like soda and junk food more than the average person (especially if that person didn’t eat at mcdonalds a lot as a kid) but in NO way has it made me think other things don’t taste good, that’s just silly.

        But I don’t doubt there is a certain amount of fecal matter in mcdonalds food – this isn’t about that. this is about MCDONALDS TASTES GOOD AND IS FUN!

        • What you eat affects your palate, because SCIENCE. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/feb/15/foodanddrink.ethicalfood I’m not saying your palate isn’t immune, because it obviously is, because you eat McDonalds and still like lots of good foods! I’m just being silly. (I am, too.)

          • You seriously cannot have a normal palate if you think McDonald’s tastes good.

            What the fuck, man. That place has ALWAYS been garbage.

            Also THANK YOU MCDONALD’S FOR GIVING ME PERMISSION TO GAY IT UP IN YOUR ESTABLISHMENT. I’ll pass, though.

          • yeah but come on, people who “don’t” like mcdonalds are like, 5% of people. everyone else loves it, hence the huge multibillion dollar corporation. everyone’s palates can’t be fucked.

            and i’m not sure but i think the existence of mcdonalds led to the existence of chipotle? which as we all know, is the best.

    • I upvoted you because I liked your earnestness.

  32. This will just give the ugandans more evidence of gays’ poo poo eating.

  33. Because of this new campaign we can now go bottomless when we enjoy our McDonald’s.

    Some of us have been doing it for a while but now we have their approval and more people can now feel the joy you get from sitting bareassed on the plastic molded chairs and sliding around in the sweat and wet farts.

  34. McDonalds is horrible, Wendys is the best. I live in SF now and we don’t have Wendys it sux…

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